BACKGROUND: Lack of conceptual clarity and measurement methods have led to underdeveloped efforts to measure experience of participation in care by next of kin to older people in nursing homes.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess the measurement properties of items aimed at operationalizing participation in care by next of kin, applied in nursing homes.
METHODS: A total of 37 items operationalizing participation were administered via a questionnaire to 364 next of kin of older people in nursing homes. Measurement properties were tested with factor analysis and Rasch model analysis.
RESULTS: The response rate to the questionnaire was 81% (n = 260). Missing responses per item varied between <0.5% and 10%. The 37 items were found to be two-dimensional, and 19 were deleted based on conceptual reasoning and Rasch model analysis. One dimension measured communication and trust (nine items, reliability 0.87) while the other measured collaboration in care (nine items, reliability 0.91). Items successfully operationalized a quantitative continuum from lower to higher degrees of participation, and were found to generally fit well with the Rasch model requirements, without disordered thresholds or differential item functioning. Total scores could be calculated based on the bifactor subscale structure (reliability 0.92). Older people (≥ 65 years) reported a higher degree of communication and trust and bifactor total scores than younger people (p < 0.05 in both cases). People with a specific contact person experienced a higher degree of participation in the two subscales and the bifactor total score (p < 0.05 in all three instances).
CONCLUSION: Psychometric properties revealed satisfactory support for use, in nursing home settings, of the self-reported Next of Kin Participation in Care questionnaire, with a bifactor structure. Additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the scales' abilities to identify changes after intervention.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The KUPA project has Clinical Trials number NCT02708498.
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